Monday, November 21, 2022

Life Runs Me

I don’t know about you, but I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to stay in control.

Of everything.

All the time.

Yeah, that’s not the best option though. Damn it.

I feel better when I convince myself that I’m driving things forward in my life. I’m the one calling the shots. I’m the one who ‘gets it’ and can make all the difference.

Maybe you feel that way sometimes too.



This year I’ve discovered a painful truth. Despite the intensity and energy I bring to my work, personal life, side projects, etc…I’m not always running life. More often than not, life is running me.

Consider it a controlled slide. You know what I mean. Think back to a time you were hiking and your feet found the loose gravel as you made your way down the trail. Off you go…not falling…just sliding…and flailing…awkwardly.

That’s what much of 2022 has felt like for me.

Now, it’s not been all chaos and uncertainty. I’ve made some really big decisions this year in my personal and professional lives. More on that later. 

But that comforting feeling of control, at least for me, has been even more elusive this year. How about for you? On top of things? Have it all figured out? Barely hanging on? I’m always ready to chat if you need to.

Thanks for being here.

Jay


Pic

Monday, November 14, 2022

My Biggest Flex

I’m not sure when this phrase became a thing. I like it though. 

Flexing means effort, sacrifice, consistency, and ultimately results. It’s more that just announcing something, or at least it should be. Flexing means success.

Often ‘biggest flex’ is a simple phrase: “my biggest flex was finally believing in myself.” Okay, sounds good. But what in the world does that mean? You never did before? Maybe. You’ve gone through a rough stretch? Perhaps. You want to join in the biggest flex trend to look cool? No comment.

Biggest flex for me has an entirely different meaning. It speaks to the culmination of years of thinking, working, planning, dreaming, worrying, convincing myself to play it safe, and then ramping that whole self-talk machine up again.

That machine is going full power right now.

It now means a long list of things ranging from mental health awareness, to relationships, to thinking far beyond what I thought I could ever do or be. 

No quickie phrases here. No Instagram ready quotes. No short little life changing tweets.

Something big is on the horizon. 

What’s your biggest flex?

Thanks for being here.

Jay


Pic




Monday, November 7, 2022

The Brink of Insight

I’ve worked with a lot of bright people through the years. Smart, accomplished professionals who really know their stuff. And yet, they somehow miss the mark. Sure, they do a good job overall, but there’s a missing piece in there that is hard to pin down.

Able to read the room? Sometimes.

Calm under pressure? Usually.

Demonstrating confidence? Uh, sure. 

So, what is that elusive element that separates the exceptional leaders from the ranks of so many managers?

 

Insight. Sometimes I call it being savvy. Either way, it’s a tough thing to teach young leaders, right? And it’s nearly impossible to up-skill mature leaders to build this into their style. Yet each of us could name an insightful and influential leader in our lives. 

What is it that made them different? And how can we take those behaviors and internalize them so we can be just as effective?

I’ll only offer the first step today. Humility. Once we move past pride and ego we gift ourselves the opportunity to grow immeasurably. Is there a better gift? Probably not.

Perhaps it’s time to give yourself a gift as we look ahead to being our best in 2023?

Thanks for being here.

Jay


Pic

Monday, October 31, 2022

Soul Hacker

I have a network of close friends who also happen to be in senior executive roles across the country. And they are dealing with a lot. 

A lot of stress. A lot of big decisions. A lot of isolation.  

Did you know executive life can be incredibly isolating? Think about it…if you are the CHRO you don’t have a peer colleague, really. Sure there are other executives, but they don’t see the world the way you do, nor do they have to manage the pressure the CHRO has to deal with. 

Work can literally erode your soul if you’re not careful.


So, is our work life a foregone losing enterprise and we need to simply hang on long enough to quit, retire, or get so frustrated that we try something new?

Hell no!

Now is your time to shine. Now is your time to bring the energy and creativity you’ve been holding back for so long. The crisis of the modern workplace is your opportunity to lead your organization’s transformation into the future.

Don’t believe me? Take a moment and think about the most influential leader you’ve ever worked with. Did they need a committee of people to inspire change? Did they need a five step internal review process to lay out their ideas and energize the leadership team to move forward? 

Of course they didn’t. You don’t either.

Today is your day. Get started.

Thanks for being here.

Jay

Pic

Monday, October 24, 2022

What Do I Get?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what executive leadership is going through now that the world of work has so dramatically changed in such a short period of time. 

Are there elements of our pre-pandemic work life that have survived? Is the era of employee activism going to continue to flourish and completely reshape how organizations function; and candidly, how organized labor functions as well? Or, is this all just a collective recoil from the shock of so much change hitting at once?

That’s a lot to digest. And for today’s executives, that’s a lot to figure out quickly in order to not look irrelevant.

Irrelevant. Perhaps the most lethal word to describe a leader at any level.

There is another component to all of the talk about the new world of work. That is, what is the experience of today’s leader?

Is the job really worth it any longer?

If employees are dissatisfied on so many levels is there actually an opportunity to make a meaningful difference?


Let me say as strongly as possible: yes it is worth it!

Serving in a leadership capacity is one of the most challenging, rewarding, criticized, influential, burdensome and important roles in any organization.

How many of your colleagues “have all the answers” when it comes to how the company should be run? And, how many of them step up to take leadership roles and put themselves and their “ideas” to the test? 

Friends…precious few do this. It is far easier to attack from the safety of the sidelines than it is to step up and do your absolute best to lead the way.

What do I get as a leader? Just the greatest job of all.

Keep going. Your organization needs you.

Thanks for being here.

Jay

Pic

Thursday, October 20, 2022

The Rules Have Changed

The world or work is in a full sprint. Digital dominates all communication, employee activism is exploding, expectations of all employees are shifting constantly, and the concerns about the economy are ever present.

So, are you still engaging your employees with an annual survey, pizza party, and branded stress ball?

Are you still saying “our culture is strong, we are in good shape?” 

Have you convinced yourself and your executive colleagues that the news headlines do not apply to you because your organization is “special?”

If this sounds like one of your executive team meetings I have some bad news for you.


The rules have changed about how work gets done…about how employees expect to be treated…and how you need to lead them.

Relying on pre-COVID engagement data, anecdotal feedback, or your long history of being “a great employer” simply no longer applies. 

Does that sound threatening? Are you offended? Good.

We all have to accept that we will never return to how things were prior to 2020. Candidly, I don’t think that is a bad thing. The changes that have taken place force leaders to elevate their game. No longer will a job title and some authority guarantee your influence matters. No longer will antiquated policies, practices, and language about corporate culture have a place in the workplace today.

The good news is that you now have a unique opportunity to differentiate yourself and your organization. The ball is in your court. What are you going to do next?

Thanks for being here.

Jay


Pic

Monday, October 17, 2022

Overextended

I’m overextended.

I believe that’s the polite, don’t make waves, low impact way to say that I’m feeling massively overwhelmed. 

And when I say overwhelmed, I mean drowning.

It’s mostly on the professional side. One way to look at it is that I’m a victim of my own success. Not in an arrogant way; rather, that the huge effort we’ve put in at my firm over the last couple of years is paying off. 

The demand for our services is at it’s highest point in our forty-three year history. The growth strategies we’ve worked on for so long are working. The client needs are significant.

Which leaves me woefully behind on the details, and so I’m only focusing on the most critical needs in front of me right now.

Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of only focusing on some of the work, even if it is the most important parts. It just doesn’t feel good.


So, is this just a “woe-is-me” story today? Nah. I’m more resilient than that. I’m being open about my current struggle for two reasons: 1) the NoExcusesHR community is incredibly supportive and creative; and 2) there might be someone else out there who is feeling similar pressure to what I’m feeling.

What’s next? My reality is that I’m going to be drowning for a while and I need to get (somewhat) comfortable with that…at least in the short-term. Quick pivots may work in the middle of a sporting event, but they are a fantasy in the business world.

Long-term however, I need a different approach to how I work (I’ve tried this quite unsuccessfully in the past.) Easier said than done, I know. 

Perhaps some of you have mastered the art of how to accomplish the big things and not obsess over the long list of little things?

Thanks for being here.

Jay


pic